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Chic Geek of the Week: Natalie Portman

Starlets. They're everywhere. On television, in magazines, splashed across the Internet, and constantly in our faces, the Hollywood It Girl is as ubiquitous as oxygen. We can't seem to escape her, and some of us admittedly don’t want to. But to those of us who pride ourselves on our intelligence, aren’t some of these so-called role models rather… uninspiring?

Here at Nerd Girls, we like to give props to girls who say what they mean and mean what they say. And when they're smart, isn't what they say a whole lot more interesting? We think so too. That’s why we'll be featuring a "Chic Geek of the Week" here on the pop culture section of our blog. Each week, we’ll highlight an intelligent force in the entertainment industry who’s making the world better with her brains. Why? Because smart is the new sexy.

First up, the holy grail of intelligent hotness. She sets the standard for smart young Hollywood. She's a Harvard grad. She's a vegetarian who speaks five languages. She's given a counterterrorism lecture at Columbia University. And, oh yeah, she's Queen Amidala too.

Although Natalie Portman made her screen debut at age 13 in The Professional, she refused to trade in her education for fame. A straight-A student throughout high school, her “Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen” paper was entered in the Intel Science Talent Search, and during her studies at Harvard, she served as a research assistant in a psych lab and, separately, as an assistant for respected legal and political pundit Alan Dershowitz. She also participated in a memory study entitled “Frontal Lobe Activation During Object Permanence.” She received her bachelor's degree in psychology in 2003. Since then, she has taken an active role as the Ambassador of Hope for FINCA, a microfinance organization encouraging female entrepreneurialism in third world countries, all while pursuing her graduate studies and acting in feature films.

Why aren't there any photos of her strolling down the red carpet at the American premiere of Star Wars: Episode I? Reportedly, she skipped out on the event to study for finals. Clearly, the girl who once told a reporter, “I’d rather be smart than a movie star” is decidedly both.


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